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Posts posted by jmcgrath

  1. If we are going to go down the road of beef-alternatives, has anyone had good success with lamb burgers?  Lamb shoulder is very close to chuck in consistency, fat content, and depth of flavour - and has the benefit of being equally cheap.  I am tempted to try grinding it up myself, maybe with the addition of anchovy, and cooking it to medium-rare.  I have never encountered a memorable lamb burger in a restaurant, though.

    I had my first lamb burger at the rather quirky A1 Diner in Gardiner, ME. The meat was mixed with a bit of fresh cilantro, and it was stuffed with Boursin. It was truly to die for. I've tried to duplicate it many times with varying success. My version is still a work in progress, but good enough that I make it often.


  2. Since I got an electronic scale, I have given up on sifting entirely. 4 oz. (by weight) = 1 C (by volume). For anyone who does serious baking, a scale with a tare function is much more useful than a sifter.


    Having a scale does not preclude the need to sift.

    Most sources I've googled indicate that it is unnecessary to sift flour if it has been weighed. There may be exceptions of which I'm not aware.

    It appears that the purpose of sifting is to get a more accurate weight/volume measurement without weighing.

    However, I find most conversions of weight are 150g

    flour = 1 Cup... not 4 oz (113g). But...There is probably no real "correct"answer to that..


    The 4 oz = 1 C measurement I mentioned came from King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook. Whatever works for you... I consider weight or volume measurements to be just be a good starting point.


  3. Save for this topic on cleaning 'em (consensus: you don't need to clean 'em), there's nothing in eG Forums on flour sifters. I have a baker in the family who needs a new one that has a large capacity and can move quickly through a lot of flour. What're your recommendations?

    Since I got an electronic scale, I have given up on sifting entirely. 4 oz. (by weight) = 1 C (by volume). For anyone who does serious baking, a scale with a tare function is much more useful than a sifter.


  4. We did not add any nitrate so I'm keen to see the final color of the beef.

    Umm, I think that you or your guests will be disappointed with the final color if they are expecting "traditional".

    In New England, especially in the Boston area, gray corned beef is more traditional. Both red and gray versions are available in most supermarkets, but gray is much more common. Perhaps "gray" is an Irish tradition.


  5. When I say "burned bits," I wonder if people think I'm talking little blackened crudgies or something. They're not black at all. They are (a few) small bits about the size of a flea that are several shades darker than the rest of the roux.


    Could it be that you have pantry pests in your flour?


  6. I can only say good things about the integrity of this company. I recently ordered from them and there was a shipping error. We exchanged emails and resolved the issue as noted.


    YES, it's a mistake.

    This knives is named NOGENT.

    The blade is also forged by hand.

    Today, we send to you the ordered knife by Fedex. You will receive Tracking Reference from them.

    Very sorry for this mistake. You can keep the 1st knife for our apologize.

    Best Regards,


  7. I also ordered saffron from here, as well as vanilla beans. I thought everything was great but when I complained about the poor quality containers, he owner gaev me alot of attitude.

    My saffron came in a very sturdy circular metal container with a tight fitting slide-on metal top. I don't know how to explain the difference in our packaging experience.


  8. My Blue fish fillets turned out great. Little flour, salt and pepper and sauteed with plenty of butter. Took fish out of pan, more butter and lemon juice to deglaze. Yum.

    It does have a strong flavor though. I might prefer it next time cooked with tomatoes, wine and garlic with a little paprika.

    The dark belly meat has a particularly strong taste. I always trim that off before cooking. The rest of the fish still has enough flavor to stand up to anything you throw at it.

    Blue fish are close to the top of the ocean going food chain, and older fish pick up an undesirable level of PCBs. I always shop for smaller fillets or steaks.


  9. I buy saffron here. The current price quoted on their website is $68.95/oz. It is also available in 1/2 oz. and 5 gram quantities. Mark Bittman recommended this company in a column a number of years ago, and I have been very happy with them. The web site is very informative.

    In case it may bother you, the saffron is imported from Iran.


  10. I just picked up some blue fish at my local spot today. I love oily fish, but usually just grill it. Sadly, too cold in NY for that.

    Any good recipes out there?  I would like to pan fry for the crispy skin.

    One of the Legal Seafoods cookbooks has a recipe that I greatly enjoy. It involves coating the flesh side of the fillet with a mixture of Dijon mustard and mayonnaise and then running under the broiler to cook. I've never done it, but you could try a quick fry, skin side down, in a very hot skillet to crisp the skin and then finish under the broiler to lightly brown the topping and finish the fish.


  11. We serve west Australian lobster tail where I work, and we noticed today that some of the tails had some pink discoloration.  I know pigmentation in scallops varies, so I wonder if this is similar or if it has to do with the freezing conditions of the tails?  Does anyone know if this is something we should be wary of?

    I can't speak for frozen lobster tails, but fresh lobster picks up some pink coloration (not discoloration) along the edges when it is cooked. The pink is just on the surface. It may be bleeding from the shell pigmentation, but that's only a guess.


  12. Another way to get to Chile-Heads  home page,

    Mark's home page

    You should really check out his barbecue photos.


    email Mark at    mstevens@exit109.com

    This brought back some fond memories. See 9th Semi-Annual Concord BBQ/Hotluck in the Photo Gallery. It's been a few years, so perhaps it's time for another hotluck. I think I have an unopened bottle of Inner Beauty floating around. We could do a taste comparison with homemade versions. I also have a bottle of the original (made in Belize) Melinda's. We could do a comparison with the Costa Rican version.


  13. ETA: Just did a quick google and the first page I came up with said that goat pepper is an alternative name for habeneros, so that's not what I'm looking for. Where have you heard goat pepper used to denote a non-hot perfumed relative of the habenero?

    Goat peppers definitely are C. Chinense, but the ones I've had are significantly milder than habaneros. I'm speaking from personal experience, not quoting an official source. I'd describe them as mildly spicy but with all the fruity aroma associated with habaneros. I think they are native to Barbados.


  14. She grows a variety of chiles, so unfortunately the seeds would be cross-pollinated.

    I just checked out pepper pollination in one of my Seed Saver's Exchange books. The word from them is that peppers will self-pollinate, but that insects can and do cause cause considerable crossing. They suggest wire frames, completely covered with Remay fabric. The fabric is thin enough to allow rain and sunlight through, but will keep insects out. An other alternative they suggest is separating each variety by 1/8 mile, but this probably won't work for most home gardeners.


  15. I'm quarter Trinidadian, and when I visited Trinidad in 2000 (I think!), I ate lots of a delicious pepper called a seasoning pepper. It has an amazing perfume, and all of the flavour of a habenero/ scotch bonnet but with none of the heat. It looks a rather like them too. Anyway, my Dad and I eagerly salvaged some seeds from a salad we ate and started growing them when we got back home.

    The problem is, we think that our plants must now be cross fertilising with our habanero plants and other chillies, because the seasoning peppers seem to be getting hotter! Not a problem, we're all chilli heads in my house, but it does seem a shame that we are losing the original character of the peppers.

    Peppers cross-pollinate quite easily and you can't grow more than one variety in a home garden if you want to collect seeds that will breed true. I also collected seeds in Trinidad, but even the next generation didn't breed true. If peppers are being grown for consumption rather than seed, as I believe these peppers were, it is simpler to grow different varieties together and not worry about cross-pollinization. The cross doesn't show up until the next generation.

    Well dried seeds will keep up to five years in a glass jar stored in the refrigerator, in case you come across a large batch of seeds.

    If you can find a variety labeled goat peppers, I think you will find them similar to those you seek.


  16. The only other butter that I found superior, was made by Cabot and I bought it after Fat Guy posted about a special deal a few years ago.

    They had a deal for two types of butter and one was an "Old-fashioned European style" something-or-other, and it was excellent, nearly as good as the French cultured butter.  After than one time, I was unable to order it shipped to California.

    Cabot has two specialty butters and they are only available at the creamery in Cabot, VT.

    One is "Old Fashioned Farmstead Butter", a whey cream butter that is a byproduct of the cheese making process. It is by far, my taste favorite. The other is "82", described as "European Style High Fat Unsalted Butter". I believe the 82 is for 82% butterfat.

    I have a friend who makes more or less monthly trips past the Creamery on the way to visit her grandchildren, and I'm kept in good supply. If you live near Concord, MA, I could ask her to pick up some extra on her next trip. Email or PM me if interested.


  17. It is so very easy to tell when a rib has been reheated, and a huge turn off to me- I really would not do it.

    I saw on BBQ America where one restaurant makes their leftovers into "fried ribs" the next day. Straight out of the fridge cut into 2 bone portions, dunked in batter then fried.


    In a restaurant business there are trade offs. Four or six hours on a steam table does far more damage to quality than a ten minute reheat on a grill.


  18. I'm planning to buy a smoker, probably a Traeger or a Fast Eddy for my restaurant.  What should I do with the unsold smoked ribs at the end of the day?

    I'll probably quick-cool them and store in the chiller after service.  What do I do the next day?  Smoke them again?

    The way I've seen it done is that the ribs are cooked overnight and then stored in trays in the walk-in. They are then heated to order on a grill. No attempt is made to hold the ribs at serving temperature. Since the ribs are finished to order, there are no leftovers.


  19. I had lunch at Farfalle Italian Market today. It is a very nice little place, but seating is quite limited with just five small tables. For food service, it is much more geared to take out. It is a great place to have lunch with a friend, but not with a group of friends. On the market side of things, there is a good selection of Italian specialty items. The wine section seemed extensive, but was mostly Italian selections with which I am not familiar.

    I had a paninni, which had been preassembled and was then grilled to order. It was excellent. My friend had a crostini and a huge bowl of mushroom soup. She though the soup broth was slightly lacking in depth, but quite good otherwise..

    I will certainly be returning, but because of the limited menu selections, probably not very often. I hope that Farfelle has not chosen to small of a niche to survive.


  20. I've noticed something, or at least I think I have.  It seems that cheaper knives with softer metal in the blades can't be charpened to the same level as my good knives.  I've experineced this twice so far.  I put a completely new 17 degree edge on a cheap knife I bought specifically for learning to sharpen.  I couldn't get anything near to sharp compared to my Henckels or my Forschner 10: chef's knife.  Last night I tried working on a less expensive 3 1'2 inch paring knife and no matter what I did it was only so-so.

    Is it me, or is it the softer metals?

    I think you have the hardness thing backwards. Cheap knives are made with hard stainless so that they will keep their factory edge as long as possible. After that, they are a pain to resharpen. Better knives with higher carbon content are softer, don't keep their edge as long, but sharpen much easier. At least that's what I've been led to believe.


  21. Hey... Thanks for the great ideas, please keep them coming !

    A question though... Asparagus takes 3 years to grow ? I didn't know that. Also, I don't believe cross pollination is a matter of concern unless we keep seed for the next year. But that being said, my experience in gardening up until this point has been home based.



    Cross-pollination is generally not a problem unless you are saving seeds for next year. Corn is a different story. You are eating the seeds (corn kernels) in the year in which they are grown, and cross-pollinated corn is usually a disaster. You can avoid this problem by planting early maturing and a late maturing varieties. Just don't plant two or more varieties that mature at around the same time.

    Asparagus crowns are a much better choice than seed for most gardens. You can get a small crop the second year, and a good crop the third year. Do some research on this. The crowns need to be planted in trenches with lots of compost.


  22. Quick newbie question: if I cut my 14-pound boneless butt in half and smoke my two half-butts, does that double the cooking time? I will be cooking my butt(s) on a Weber bullet, so half of my butt would be in the top chamber and half of my butt in the bottom (heh) chamber.

    There's not much you can do to shorten cooking time. You can cheat by cooking the butt hot and smoky in the bullet for a few hours to create a nice bark and then finish in a 200 to 225F oven until done. Put it in the oven before you go to bed and start checking for doneness when you get up the next morning.


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